Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Caney Fork. Saturday, November 24th 2007

I heard “David P. what’s up man?”……

”Not much, how was Thanksgiving?” I asked the voice on the other end of the phone. As we got into our conversation I realized that Dan, who is my shuttle guy, was outside. I was in Chattanooga for a couple days; it was 8:00 pm. in Chattanooga and 40 degrees. I knew the temperature in Buffalo Valley, where Dan was, would be somewhat lower and if Dan was outside the temp by the river would be even lower. I asked Dan what the heck was doing? He told me he was sitting outside with his neighbor and a friend… the fire. Apparently life is good when you live where you want to live, do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and Dan would know.

“How about a shuttle at 8:00 in the morning?” I asked.

“Only if I get to go.” He said

“I already have a full boat. Is that the river I hear in the background?” I was getting nervous

“OK I will see you at 8:00 and we need to fish” Dan said, as he let me off the hook… was a long distance release.

“You got that right we do need to fish, are you coming to Liars and Tiers on Tuesday night?”

“Yep, I hear we are havin chicken” He told me.

“Yep, see ya tomorrow”….

I met up with Mark Griffith and Anthony Williams of Murfreesboro the next morning. Mark had been fly fishing just one other time, but Anthony and I have fished all over Middle and East Tennessee. I am not good at math, or sometimes counting for that matter, but I’ve fished more times with Anthony than I have fingers and toes and always enjoy it. Anthony is easy going, but the best thing about Anthony today…he was bringing the burgers for the shore lunch! The shore lunch is quickly becoming one of the highlights of my trips. It is not a highlight because we cook such great food, but more because it is a time to get out of the boat, slow down a little more, count the rise rings and watch the river pass by as much as anything else.

Dan was there on time and we were on the water 45 minutes before the Army Corps was scheduled to stop the release. With-in the first 200 yards of no generation Mark was hooked up with a rainbow, which he long distance released with great precision. Little were we to know, although he would make a dramatic comeback later in the day, this was the last fish of a long dry spell for Mark.

We made it to the first bend in the river and Anthony hooked up with a very nice rainbow, which he fought for awhile. Two folks, who were fishing from a rock, guessed at its length several times before it ever came to the surface. How they had any idea the length, I don’t know, but they were close when they guessed 16”. This rock is also becoming a fixture of floats because there is almost always someone there with a spinning reel. In turn we almost always boat a fish within eyesight of that rock, which I am sure gives them great joy….

We stopped just after noon for burgers, chips and drinks. Anthony and Mark discussed their favorite vacation spots and bonfires. While they were entertained with that discussion, I counted rise rings, seven (7) all at the same time was the most I counted and it was just before a wind rippled up the water. I observed this from the comfort of my lawn chair by the stove. The river was falling out and our day was now crawling just like I had planned.

We got back in the boat and headed toward the halfway point of the trip. A little further downriver we picked up a brown trout that measured 15”. It was caught on a #16 BHPT, while the clouds became heavier and darker. A little later I begged the question, too myself, as well as the others. “Why would I leave my raingear in the truck?” It started to rain.

We passed the spot on the river where Anthony was broken off twice, on consecutive casts, by two large fish, earlier in the year. He wanted a second shot at either fish and as we passed over the spot he was quietly mending. We passed through the shoal twice, and picked up a couple, but apparently the bruisers were not around. It kept raining, the wind picked up and so did the wind knots.

A few minutes later Mark said “sometimes it just ain’t your day.” I love a good challenge and I re-rigged his rod with a fresh BHPT. We hit the first set of shoals on the home stretch where Mark picked up a 10” rainbow as well as his spirits. That fish prompted a discussion of Anthony’s week which consisted of fishing three rivers in as many days. We discussed the quality of the fish on the Caney this year and how we’ve had many good days on the river. It is getting late in the season and with the change in the weather I am searching for and beginning to tie more midge patterns for winter. This all leads to the shad kill in late winter/early spring, which brings on summer and it goes on and on….

I believe fish know when the discussion is getting deep and they use this gift to taste-test passing flies while they think no one is looking. This time Mark saw his indicator go under and hooked into a nice fish. He fought the fish as I discussed the fine art of reeling up excess line with a small arbor reel, while trying to untangle yourself and letting the fish run when it feels the need. During Mark’s fight with his fish, Anthony hooked a nice rainbow (the daily double was on), which we brought to the net. Anthony took the hook out of his rainbows sore lip and I helped Mark boat the largest brown he has caught, which measured 14”. (See 2nd photo)

We pulled into the ramp just after dark where we caught the last two plays of the Tennessee vs. Kentucky football game. Everything in the boat was locked down and we hung the rods in the truck. When we got on the interstate I called Dan.

“David P. what’s up man?”

“How about a shuttle Friday morning?” I asked.

“Only if I get to go.” He said

“I already have a full boat. Is that the river I hear in the background?” I was getting nervous


  1. Nice report and pictures! That river has sure been fishing good lately. I'm looking forward to your next report...

  2. Fly fishermen: 1
    River and weather: 0

    Looks like the three of you found a way to carve out a nice day on the water -- good job! Saturday was cold and wet but that's rarely a bad thing where trout are concerned.